Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Alignment, Part 2

Alignment Questions:
Jesus, align my mind with your mind
Jesus, align my emotions with your heart
Jesus, align my will with your will
Jesus, align my life choices with your priorities.
The comedian Lilly Tomlin once said, “I always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.”

How often do we have that underlying sense too? We wonder if anyone really sees us, or even more, cares. When we have those thoughts in our vulnerable moments, we are living out the true consequences of life outside the Garden that God created.

This morning as I spent time with Jesus, and contemplated writing this reflection, wondering how most specifically to capture God’s heart for people, I had an overwhelming sense of God’s pursuit of us. I had a glimpse of life in the Garden as Adam and Eve and the overwhelming joy they experienced when they heard the Lord walking through it coming to find them to spend time with them.

This is God’s heart: He pursues us in relationship!

Did you realize that God created the entire universe by “His Word?” But, not humanity—we were created very differently. Read this: “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” (Genesis 2:7)

Imagine it. God bending down into the dirt, moving it, shaping it, molding it into his image as he creates his first people.

This is God’s heart: He comes close and gets dirty with us in the messiness of our lives.

But, that wasn’t all! He also came closer and breathed himself into us. We didn’t live until we had his breath in us!
This is God’s heart: He is so close to us that we breathe with his breath. His life is what brings us life.

We often live life and make decisions out of our emotions. This is very contrary to God’s heart for us; he desires for us to stand in alignment of his mind and his heart for us as people: that we are deeply valued, loved and pursued in relationship.

My sister was here for a week and we had an amazing time, but this morning when I woke up I felt so low. Today as I made Jesus my priority, I realized just how life giving it was: when I am not with him, I lose life—my mind begins to drift away from who God says I am and who he is as my loving father. My emotions start to go downhill and negativity sinks in. But, the refocusing today brought me literal life: I breathed deeper and focused clearer as I realized again how much I am loved.

I heard an amazing story last month that I want to share with you.
We met Ken and Cheryl at the Prayer Conference we attended in June. Many from our team spent hours praying for Ken and Cheryl because when Ken was a very young man, he had a stroke that paralyzed his entire body. Ken and Cheryl had only been married one year at that point. They saw their dreams literally slip away from them as the use of Ken’s body slipped away from him.

Cheryl and Ken gave their testimony at the Healing Prayer Service last month. They came to give testimony about the healing that took place in Ken’s body through the prayer he received, but also about the amazing work God is doing within their spirits.

Cheryl admitted that after 5 years she could barely stand the sight of Ken. He represented all her broken dreams. One day in desperation she cried out, “God you have to help me to love him.” Right after that plea, she felt a warm oil come over her head and move all the way down through her body. It was a supernatural anointing of God’s love he was giving to her for her husband.

Immediately, she felt different towards Ken. She couldn’t get enough of him: seeing him, smelling him, touching him. She loved him so much she thought her heart would burst. She told us listening, “If everyone could love their spouse like that, divorce would cease to exist.”
This is remarkable, even if it only lasted a few hours or a few days. But, it’s been 24 years! Cheryl still has the ability to love Ken as God loves him. She sees him as God sees him. She is able to look past his disability and see the amazing heart God put within Ken.
I love this story because it is a picture of God’s heart for us.

Jesus is also a picture of God’s heart. He came to show us who God is. He didn’t stand apart, high up in the universe, judging us. No, he came to earth, was born right into the messiness of life (a stable filled with animal poop can’t be much messier!), and continued to bring life wherever he went.

I love the story of the leper coming to Jesus. Lepers were ostracized from everyone, so much that they had to yell, “Unclean” whenever anyone came near them. Of course, leprosy was so feared that people would run the other direction.

But, this man knew that Jesus was different. He came to him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me.”

Jesus replied, “I am willing, be healed.”

This is God’s heart for us: He draws near to us and dwells with us in our suffering, bringing hope and healing.

I encourage you to continue to use your alignment questions daily. These questions will allow you to live with your mind continually made more like Jesus, and your emotions aligned to God’s heart.

Focus on the two stories I wrote about today, as you pray for Jesus to continue to show you who God is: the God who values us, loves us and pursues us in relationship, even in the messiest dirt of life.

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